WRITTEN BY HANNAH HARTZELL, STAFF REPORTER
While many seniors were developing their theses, Veronica Orech was examining plays, cutting scenes and auditioning actors.
For theatre majors, including Orech, a senior project takes the place of a typical thesis.
Orech chose to direct a play about the perception of a child.
After much hard work and preparation, “Scenes from Mr. Marmalade” will make its Butler University debut this weekend.
Orech said “Mr. Marmalade” is the story of 4-year-old Lucy, who creates imaginary friends as a means of coping with her dysfunctional, 1960s family.
“Infidelity and inappropriate language are presented right in front of her, and the story is a reflection of her perception of reality,” Orech said.
Lead actress Peyton Lustig said these creative characters help “give her a break from the loneliness in her life.”
She said the audience can see how these imaginary friends represent the characteristics of the adults and media in Lucy’s life.
Lucy’s chief imaginary friend, Mr. Marmalade, represents the father she had, while another imaginary friend, Bradley, embodies the father she wishes she had.
Orech said this gives a window into the psychological view of children, something very important to her as a theatre and elementary education double major.
Orech said she sought to combine the two passions without doing a children’s show.
What resulted is a dark comedy that Orech believes will allow the audience to see further into the mind of a child.
“It does touch on some tough stuff,” said Conor Owens, who plays Bradley. “It is not a laugh out loud type of show, but I think it deals with tough issues in a good way.”
Lustig said the challenging topics covered in “Scenes from Mr. Marmalade” were a main reason for auditioning.
“I thought it would be a great experience to participate in a play that exposes the dark side of humanity,” she said.
Orech said she encouraged all the actors to find the good and the bad in their characters.
Selecting what parts of the play to perform, she attempted to choose scenes that would reveal the characters as multidimensional.
“They’ve done an excellent job of making the characters their own,” Orech said.
“The actors work really well together and bring new ideas every day,” sophomore stage manager Claire Kedjidjian said. “We have come so far since we started, and I’ve really enjoyed seeing it all come together.”
Orech said she hopes the audience will not only enjoy the play, but that they also gain a different perspective after viewing the show.
“The brain of a child is like a sponge—it catches everything,” Orech said. “They understand concepts and ideas even if they don’t understand what exactly is going on.”
Orech said this idea is explored a lot in the play as the audience gets to see through the eyes of Lucy.
“Scenes from Mr. Marmalade” is free and open to the public.
It will be performed in Lilly Hall, Room 328 on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 12 at 4 p.m.
Because of the nature of the play, “Scenes from Mr. Marmalade” is recommended only for mature audience.